Blitz-Weinhard Brewery

[OR FLAG]

Occupying five city blocks in Portland's northwest section, the Blitz-Weinhard brewery reveals its presence by the wafting aromas of malt and hops during brewing operations. Outside the main entrance lies the 1956 100th birthday time capsule, scheduled for opening in 2056, this subterranean treasure should yield a well-aged brew in a few years. Public tours start at the freight elevator and advance vertically from there. Our guide Jerry showed off the 560 bbl. hot wort tank after we watched the intro video. Inside, the second story 490 bbl. stainless steel brew kettles start the process while fermenters and aging tanks lurk outside, overlooking the industrial neighborhood and dominating its skyline. At the top of the flow, around the fourth floor, lie vessels labeled Caramel Malt Hopper, Black Malt Hopper, Caramel Malt Hopper, Corn Grits Hopper, and Main Malt Hopper. On the side, stand the 30 bbl. Trub Tank and the Hot Water Tank. A 6-roller mill is employed to swiftly crush the grains. The highly automated but noisy operation runs 24 hours a day and contains high-speed filling lines for both bottles and cans.

After a water adjustment using Gypsum, ingredients include whole and pellet hops (Tettnanger & Hallertauer), Caramel Malt (20ºL & 60ºL), Wheat, Liquid Sugar ?, and Black Malt. Great Western Malting in Vancouver supplies the malt in rail cars. The cereal cooker processes the corn grits and yields the desired fermentable sugars.

The tour that started in a 20-seat theater ended in a German-looking hospitality room. The dark wood U-shaped bar featured six taps and was surrounded by two dozen wooden tables and chairs, a TV, and lots of merchandise for sale. The Ale gave a light malty flavor with a thin body and slight hop presence. The Dark was a ruby color with a dry malty flavor and subtle hops. The Red was a dark amber color with a hoppy aroma and flavor. The N/A is produced by removing the alcohol and selling it to a gasohol producer, then recovering the flavor through a distillation tower. The Rootbeer had a great rootbeer aroma with a medium body and mildly sweet flavor.

The brewery built in 1906 has undergone many transitions to reach its current form. In addition to the well-advertised Henry's product line, contract brewing for Mickeys and Sam Adams keeps the cash coming in. Although not comfortable with photography by tourgoers, Blitz Weinhardts is comfortable hosting nighttime parties in their hospitality room. When in Portland, check it out. The 30 minute tours are available weekday afternoons.


Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company
1133 West Burnside Street
Portland, Oregon 97209
(503)222-4351

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - July, 1996


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